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The lasting legacy of pioneering Birmingham-based pastor

FAITHFUL: The late pastor Leslie Anderson with his wife pastor Hyacinth Anderson

PIONEERING PASTOR Leslie Anderson, who became a cornerstone for generations of worshippers at his Birmingham church, died at the age of 85 on August 14 – a day after his 55th wedding anniversary.

An educated man, who had a passion for God and people, pastor Anderson started a Pentecostal church in a school hall in Aston in 1977 before becoming an ordained pastor of the Assemblies of the First Born at a church in Lozells Road, which he has led since 1979.

The Portland-born pastor left his beloved Jamaica in 1960, where he had been a broadcaster with Radio Jamaica RADIO Fusion, and on arriving in the West Midlands became a bus driver in West Bromwich. An astute entrepreneur, he went on to run his own driving school and travel agency.

But with a zest for lifelong learning, the great grandfather put himself through college, gaining not one, but two degrees, the latter being a degree in theology from the University of Birmingham in his early 50s.

Before that he became a qualified accountant while also gaining qualifications in commerce, economics, history, statistics and law.

With his many skills, he became a pioneer of the Black Leaders Church Leaders Church Liaison Committee (BLCLC) and was a founder member of the Council of Black Led Churches (CBLC) along with the late Bishop Sydney Thompson and the late Rev Joe Corbett.

He also used his expertise to become a treasurer for the United Evangelical Project (UEP) from which Prison Link evolved – a prison evangelism team that still supports prisoners and their rights across the region.

As a firm believer in education, pastor Anderson trained student ministers from across the UK at the Selly Oak-based West Hill College and Birmingham Bible Institute.

His ministry extended overseas where he was actively involved in evangelising in Germany, Italy, USA and Switzerland, which also involved exchange programmes with ministers.

“My father was a community man, who believed passionately in education – a passion that he passed on to me and my sister,” said his daughter Norma Gordon, who is the First Registrar at her father’s church.

Pastor Anderson supported his wife Hyacinth with the setting up of Anka Day Nursery (A Nursery that Kares for All), a registered children’s nursery in the grounds of the church that celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It is now run by their daughter Norma.

SEPARATED BY DEATH: On their wedding day in 1960

She said: “We will be celebrating with a fundraising event on October 10 at Aston Villa Football Club’s Trinity Suite and it will be the first annual fund raiser that my father will not attend. He will be greatly missed.”

In a fine example of legacy, pastor Anderson’s widow Hyacinth, 82, who is also a pastor, will continue as minister at their church which has just undergone a major restoration.

Their daughter Norma added: “The actual church building has been closed for 12 years for phased renovation work and we have been holding services in the hall at the back of the church.

“It’s very fitting that our beautiful church has now been restored to its former splendour and will be ready in time for my father’s funeral service.”

Pastor Anderson leaves a widow Hyacinth, two daughters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

His homecoming service will be held on Wednesday September 16 at 10am at the Assemblies of the First Born Church, 23 Lozells Road, Lozells, Birmingham B19 2TQ, followed by internment at Handsworth Cemetery.

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